Sunday, February 28, 2010

One Tough Apple

tough apple
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
This image, along with a slew of others, was emailed to me today. Something about it's crazed expression really appealed to me.

I'm not sure who created it, but my best guess is someone with the handle of Ayrro over on Deviant Art. It's hard to tell since it's been scattered all over the internet. Either way it's a quirky little thing and I like it.

Friday, February 26, 2010

It's Alive!

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
I was hand washing a few pots the other day and I had left the water running in the sink with dish soap to fill it up with nice hot sudsy water. While my back was turned, Rebecca brought her step stool over to the sink.

I turned round when she started giggling and this was what I saw.

Apparently she was playing with the bubbles. A long tentacle of soap bubbles was sticking up from the sink with a large bubble on the top. It was both amazing and hilarious.

My sink has come alive!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Thursday Playdate

I've started to socialize with a couple of other moms in the neighborhood. It started out with my walking the dogs after getting my youngest two on the bus. I would go to the bus stop with Max, Rebecca and the dogs, once the dynamic duo was ensconced on the bus I would take the dogs for a walk. My route would take me to the next closest bus stop and I would say hello to the two moms waiting with their children. Soon we all started walking together on a nice one and a half loop.

We talk about this and that and pick up the litter on the side of the road.

And now we have started going to the movies.

We are up for almost anything. It's a treat for us to see non child oriented movies. Our only requirement is that the movie ends in time for us to get back to our respective bus stops to meet our children.

So far we have seen Holmes, Valentine's Day, Blind Side, and Avatar. We are not interested in great cinema, just interesting movies that fit into our time restrictions. I used to see all the movies and it is nice for me to abe able to do it again at matinee prices.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Artist of the Week: Lego Ahoy!

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
This week's artist is Nate, pictured here with Dell.

I had him pose with his siblings last year for the annual photo, but this particular session didn't pan out. It was a race against falling light levels and waning (or in some cases non) enthusiasm for the project. Nate was pretty game, but as always it was a challenge to get him to straighten up and be still. Dell wrangling helped hold him place, but to the detriment of sitting nicely.

Aside from all that, it is a very cute picture of Nate.

As for his art this week, it is his favored medium, the Lego. Some days it feels like it is all Legos, all the time. I'm just thankful for the fact that they have been banned downstairs. A few do make their way downstairs, but we are not awash with them. Just the odd Lego here and there that has dropped off from when a particularly interesting item is brought downstairs to show off.

Lego ship
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
And this is a prime example of what gets brought downstairs for exhibition.

It is a battle ship of sorts with numerous guns on its topside. I like how one even has a sight for the person manning the gun. Nate even added neat details like a movable rudder. He was justifiably proud of his creation and requested I photograph it for posterity. The life span of such a complex structure is not very long in our household. They get dropped, or kicked, or broken apart for other projects.

Some days I get a bit exasperated by the Legos, but then I remember what creative toy they are and how much pleasure my children get from them.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


It looks like we might get another bit of snow tomorrow.

It shouldn't be much, but then it doesn't take much to mess things up around here.

And maybe I'll get to take a picture like this one featured here. I found it over at Scary Mansion (a rather odd site) via Morbid Fashion (which is just as strange) via Black and WTF (which is a tad tamer).

I go on some very long and strange journeys on the internet.

Monday, February 22, 2010

The Story of Bubble Boy

Here is another entry in this year's Tropfest. It is a lovely little movie and my favorite one so far this year. I don't care for this year's overall winner, but there are plenty of little gems like this one still to be found.

I've only seen the Australian entries so far, but I'll be checking out Tropfest NY in the not so distant future.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

A Box, A Boy, And His Dog

Nate and Dell
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
Much to our children's delight we have a accumulated a fair number of large boxes.

Max still has his drum box and now Nate has a large box of his very own.

When he first got his box Nate liked to put the dogs inside it. They would at best sit inside for a few seconds and then, with a mighty bound, escape their prison. However Dell was more than happy to curl up with Nate inside the box privided there was a comfy cushion and Nate. I thought the two of them were very cute and snagged this shot.

Of course it's now a very tattered and limp piece of cardboard. Nate is very hard on this things and the box was no exception. He was quite irate the other day and discovered the therapeutic value of chucking stuff. To whit: small metal airplanes are great fun to whip at cardboard, particularly if they are thrown like a ninja's throwing star. He happily spent a few hours systematically demolishing his box.

I glad I took my picture when I did, because now the box is no more.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Snow Berries

snow berries
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
This picture was from last Wednesday, the 10th, after we got our last snowfall. It was only a few inches, but it was enough to throw the area into a tizzy. The snow squall hit just as the buses were going round picking up high school and middle school students.

It was awful out so I drove Jake to the bus stop and allowed him to wait in the car. Visibility dropped to 50 feet and there was no way I was going to let him stand by the side of the road in such conditions. We waited for a good half hour when a teacher who lived in our subdivision stopped by and informed us that the school system just declared a two hour delay. We thanked her and struggled home with the car fishtailing twice during our less than two block drive.

Ultimately school was canceled, much to my relief and the delight of the kids. Unfortunately quite a few kids were stranded at school until the weather cleared that afternoon.

Since then the weather has remained fairly cold and the snow has hung around far longer than the norm for here in Central Virginia. But I think it'll be mostly gone, excepting the larger piles of shoveled snow, by the end of this weekend. Temperatures will be up in the mid fifties and that should melt it away.

Oh and the tracks, those are from the deer. They lead from the woods right up to the tree next to the house. We see them almost anytime of day around here and they are very bold. So bold that I've even found deer tracks under the deck. However the tracks do add to the composition of the picture.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Artist of the Week: Village

snow angel
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
This week's artist is our little snow angel Rebecca.

She is not quite the builder her brothers are, instead she likes to just mess about in the snow. With our last snowfall she made a small pile and then spent the rest of her time outdoors charging about and making snow angels. She has fun, just in her own way, Which is just what I would expect from my very independent daughter.

When she does decide to do something she fully commits to the project. Which brings us to this week's project.

Powhatan Indian village
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
At one point this year second grade was studying the various tribes of native Americans across the North American continent. One of the tribes, the Powhatan ( a local tribe still in existence in Virginia), had a project devoted to them demonstrating the life of an Eastern Woodland tribe. The students had to depict 10 examples of the various aspects of life in and around a village.

The rubric pasted on the underside of her project lists examples to be used and they are:

Home: Longhouses
Animals: deer, bear, turkey, squirrel, fish rabbit, and raccoon
Plants: trees, flowers, berries, corn, beans, and squash
Land: forest and rivers
Other: canoes, people, and tools

Rebecca loved this project and decided to make it 3 dimensional. The canoe and the fire are a bit off scale, but the rest all nicely mesh together. She made little fish in the river, animals are by the edge of the woods, and people are scattered about. It's a fun project and she included well more than twice the required 10 examples. From her teacher she got a well deserved E (excellent) for her effort. I think it's absolutely terrific.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Snow Shot

A few days ago on the news it was briefly mentioned that on February 12th there was snow in 49 out of fifty states and Washington DC. I thought it was a cool little tidbit was just a wee bit disappointed about Hawaii. I know there can be snow on the higher peaks and it was a pity that they were bare during one of the few times Texas and Florida got a bit of snow.

Well it turns out all fifty states did have snow. If you go to here, Ramblings of a Graduate Student, you'll get the whole story. Then click over to the Snow Shot of America for all the pictures.

I found out about this from my friend David on Facebook and it made my geeky, weather junky heart sing.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Something Beautiful

Ólafur Arnalds - Ljósið

I found this absolutely lovely video and I just wanted to share.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Five And Still Alive

Well I have been puddling along here now for five years.

Sharing pictures, telling odd stories and posting things that just plain amuse me.

This isn't the most exciting or best written blog, not by a long shot. But... it's my blog and it's my little corner of the interwebs. So thank you for stopping by and leaving the occasional comment.

And who knows maybe someday I'll start posting at a far more civilized hour and not at my usual "oh heck it's almost midnight" post panic. Just don't hold your breath.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Just A Bit Freaky

Apple doll
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
Meryl and I talk about some of the oddest things when we are on the phone. It might start off reasonably enough, usually about a recent blog post or something in the news, but then we get sidetracked and end up in freaky town.

Case in point: her recent post about Jenny Tonge. Somehow we ended up discussing who she most resembled and settled on Keith Richards. Upon further reflection I decided that they both look like apple dolls (For the uninitiated, it is a doll with a head made out of an apple that has been carved with human features and allowed to dry.)

You have to admit there is some similarity among the three.

This, however, is not the end of the end weirdness. Oh no, we go much further.

To find an image of Keith I googled Keith Richards Apple doll. I figured I was not the only person to think this and I was right. I found a great article that has Keith chastising Amy Winehouse. Which alone is an amazing concept. Never mind the coconut tree incident- Keith Richards thinks Amy Winehouse is a train wreck..


So without our weird phone calls I never would have googled the phrase "Keith Richards apple doll" and my life would be that much poorer.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Blind Side

One of the nice things about the kids being school is that I get to do fun grown up stuff like going to the movies. There are a couple of mothers in the neighborhood that I'll go on a daily walk with after the bus picks up our respective children. And when we can shoehorn it into our schedules, we grab the occasional movie.

Today we saw The Blind Side.

We chose it because it fit best with our biggest requirement, getting back home before the the bus. Jake had seen it when it first came out with his classmates on a field trip (And at this point I must digress- when did it become normal for schools to have field trips to the movies? I never got to do that when I went to school.) and loved it. I was a bit unsure about the movie, being a nonfan of football, but I thought I would give it a shot.

I loved it. It is a terrific movie and Sandra Bullock gave an incredibly strong performance. Both heartbreaking and uplifting, the movie kept me glued to my seat. I'm so glad that I saw it. Meryl got to join us today and she too thought it was an amazing film.

It is definitely worth seeing.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Artist of the Week: Snow Dome

Building the snow dome
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
Or another way to look at it, an igloo.

Even through the hits keep coming with our never ending winter storm watch, the artist of the week carries on. This week Jake is the one in the spotlight with his snow dome.

It first started out as a smallish fort like structure. He showed it off to me when I came out to see what everybody was building. After the requisite picture taking Jake asked me if it was a good idea to try to put a top on it. I gave him a breezy go ahead along the lines or "Sure! Why not!" I didn't think it would be particularly easy, but I figured why not give him some encouragement and see what happens.

That was all he needed.

He was outside long after his siblings bailed on their projects and came in for hot cocoa. It had even turned to light rain and he kept on building. In the end he was able to cap it off. I came out at just the right moment and stuck my camera inside with the lens pointing up.

So far his dome has weathered two more storms and has nicely iced over. It is not quite as big as the one over in Herndon, but then again he is just one boy. He didn't have three tons of snow at his disposal, just what he could scrounge in our backyard while designing it on he fly.

I think it came out looking rather nifty.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Snowlapse 2010

Here is a neat time lapse video of the big snow storm up in DC. I particularly liked watched the branches bend down as the snow piled up.

Down in Richmond metro area we got nothing close to the same amount of snow fall. Poor little teddy bear trapped in the snow.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Snow Days

snow hammock
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
Hopefully today will be our last snow day for a while. The county, as of this writing, has posted that there will be school on Tuesday and it will be starting on time.

And on the behalf of all the beleaguered parents and guardians out there, I'd like add a heartfelt amen.

So no more lounging about in pajamas, goofing off on the computer, or playing in the snow. At least until the next winter storm.

Or course there was nothing mentioned about the possibility of an early release, because we are supposed to get a nice wintry mix tomorrow afternoon.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

I See You

This is possibly one of the coolest pictures I have ever taken and it wasn't even my idea.

I see you, originally uploaded by Teckelcar.

Nate had built a huge tower in our backyard from the snow we have gotten this weekend. It was literally taller than him. It was also riddled with tunnels and holes, Nate had me photograph them.

For this shot he told me to kneel down and shoot through the tunnel. He pressed his face near the tunnels far entrance with the idea that this would demonstrate the the tunnel goes straight through the tower to the other side. I could barely see his face, it was just a faint smudge through the viewfinder. I snapped two pictures, having him move just a smidge to ensure I got something.

Amazingly it was the first picture that came out best. I decided to post a larger version here so you can see the picture in all its glory. I love how you can very clearly see his brown eye peering at you from the other side.

Not bad for shooting almost blind.

Friday, February 05, 2010

It May Be Snowy, But...

Baseball season is right around the corner.

This extremely cute video was made by one of the local schools in response to the name the mascot contest currently being held by Richmond's newest baseball team, The Flying Squirrels.

In fact the video is so cute they received an invitation to sing their song at the Diamond during the announcement of the mascots name.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

The Big Question

sexy boots
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
Are we going to get snow or ice?

Will we get a nice dumping of fresh fluffy snow or are we going to be socked in with sleet and rain?

And then there are the other questions.

Will they cancel school at 5 am? I just love that 5 am automated call. Nothing gets the blood pumping in morning like an early phone call, particularly when the call is tell you that you can sleep in.

Alternatively there could still be school, but then they can always end the school day early. I can at least prep the kids ahead and tell them I will be home, just ride the bus. Because I really don't want to drive when the weather is bad, they are much safer on the bus.

Either way, snow or sleet, I still get to wear my duck boots.

Update: At about a quarter 7:00 am we got the call, because the Governor declared a state of emergency- no school.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Artist of the Week: Mountain

Mount Max
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
Mr. Max is this week's artist and his medium this week is snow.

As y'all well know by now we got some snow last weekend. Quite a bit for this area in fact. On Sunday, after it was all finished with snowing and blowing, we got a gloriously bright sunny day. Meryl helped Larry and I dig out the driveway and in the process we made a bit of a mound near the end of the driveway. Max was outside with us and promptly laid claim to it and dubbed it "Max Mountain."

He spent the rest of his time outside augmenting his mountain and adding features like caves. When we asked him the names of his caves he announced they were the Max caves. He did not like my suggestion of the Min caves of Max Mountain. Any way you can see one of his caves near the base of his mountain.

The column on top was originally smaller, but after I mentioned that it looked kind of like God's Thumb from the movie "Holes" (we had just watched that with Meryl) he decided to make it a bit bigger. The end result was even more like the movie version, which is ironic considering he claimed that he did not like the movie. Either way he had a good time mucking about in the snow and dang it, the boy is just too cute when he is all bundled up.

Meryl agrees with me and in fact I have to give her credit for this picture along with the one of Nate a few days ago. I was a bit of a slacker in the picture department this past weekend, but then again I knew somebody was going to take at least a few.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Silly Me

snow removal
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
I thought that since VDOT actually deigned to clear my road on Monday, a whole day earlier than the expected, that schools would shortly reopen.

Silly me.

On Monday we had no school, a no brainer considering we got close to 9 inches of snow on Saturday.

Tuesday we again had a snow day which was pretty much assumed and was no shock.

This afternoon I got word that we would have no school on Wednesday. The news was greeted by cheers from my crew and a rolling of eyes by me. I was really hoping for just a two hour delay, but I was far too optimistic.

I think school was canceled on account of tonight's forecast, rain, sleet and a trace of snow. Not a good mix for safe driving. I'm very glad there is a "Snow Day Party" going on in my subdivision tomorrow. I know we are all getting a little squirrelly and it'll be good to get out a spend time with other people.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Storm Grilling

storm grilling
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
So Meryl and I did a little side trip to the supermarket on the way back home. Did we get the classic OMG the sky is falling storm supplies?

Heck no! We got strip steaks and a propane tank.

Nothing beats the winter storm blues than a nice juicy steak hot off the grill.

I was able to set up the grill right outside the side door to the garage. All I had to do was open the door and "boom" the grill was there. I could tend to the steaks without setting foot in the snow.

It was great fun listening to the hiss of the snow flakes as they hit the grill. And the steaks- they were some of the best I've ever grilled. Tender, juicy and oh so flavorful. Paired up with some killer mashed potatoes, we feasted like kings.